Photo from Bep Eatery Facebook page
One of the greatest mysteries of Minneapolis life has long been why there wasn't a good simple Vietnamese spot in the skyways. After all, we've got a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant scene and some of it is represented only 15 or so blocks from the downtown skyways on Eat Street (Caravelle, Saigon 26, and Pho 79 are clustered on 26th and Nicollet). Well, thanks to tiny Bep Eatery, the just-opened first skyway Vietnamese shop, it is a mystery no more.
Bep's the first foray into the restaurant game from co-owners Thanh and Mark Myhre. Thanh, born Thanh Danh, moved from near Saigon to Minnesota when he was about 7, and, as the youngest son of five, grew up in a house where cooking was the center of the home. Mark grew up in Stillwater, also the youngest son of 5, and has had a marketing career for the past 12 years. The two fell in love and were married a few years ago in Washington, before same-gender marriage was legal in Minnesota. They recently adopted a little girl, and as part of their new life decided to merge their two passions into one business. Thanh invented all the recipes and Mark used his marketing skills to streamline the message and make the place look slick.
And it really does look slick! Clean and modern like a Chipotle, it follows the same walk-the-line, customize-basic-options model. So far basics include spring rolls, pho soup, banh mi sandwiches, and bun noodle salads. As you walk the line you decide on additions. Roast pork, grilled chicken, tofu, or steak can be added to the banh mi sandwich, the bun noodle salad, or the spring rolls, for instance. For the pho, you can get tofu, rare beef, or grilled chicken, and they finish it with chicken or beef broth. Everything is $7.95. And I really liked everything I tried! The pho is nicely fragrant, and has good real soup flavor. The roast pork banh mi had all kinds of flavor, sweet and rich pork, a perky liveliness contributed by a marinated carrot and daikon herb salad, and a little fire from the fresh jalapeños.
Bep also has good Vietnamese iced coffee, and that about wraps it up. The one bummer: It’s hard to find, in the northeastern nether regions of the skyways at the Fifth Street Towers (those are the curvy brown glass ones with the bitchin’ Miami Vice-colored trim bands.) Yet, Bep looks ready to spin off a second location already, and Mark Myhre confirms that the family’s long-term plans include other locations, so if you’re a patient skyway dweller you may find they show up near you. Till then, let it never be said that there isn’t a good simple Vietnamese spot in the Minneapolis skyways, because now there is.
100 S. 5th St., 612-910-2317, bepeatery.com